Erin Gray: 'Buck Rogers's Col. Wilma Deering, Then And Now

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Left: Erin Gray on an episode of 'Love Boat' from 1980. Right: Gray as Colonel Wilma Deering on 'Buck Rogers In The 25th Century.' Sources: Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images; IMDB

As Colonel Wilma Deering on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Erin Gray was her era's definitive TV space sweetheart. Gray combined her model's looks with a charismatic presence -- and Wilma's take-charge manner to make her a reasonable substitute for Princess Leia as space-opera fans awaited another Star Wars film. That's not a comparison out of thin air, either -- Buck Rogers and its competitor Battlestar Galactica were launched to cash in on the public's hunger for Star Wars-like galactic drama, and the brunette Deering in her white jumpsuit, brandishing a big space blaster, wasn't far off from Carrie Fisher in her white Leia robe doing the same.

Buck Rogers lasted two seasons, from 1979-81, while Battlestar Galactica lasted just one. They were arguably the same show, with a key difference any fan would point out: Buck Rogers had Erin Gray in spandex space garb, and Battlestar Galactica did not.